“The atmosphere has been buzzing,” Abiteboul told Renault Sport’s website. “When we visited the factory in November there was a lot of work, but the mood was muted. Now it’s like a light has gone back on - everyone is flat out, but very optimistic.
“At Viry [where Renault’s power units are manufactured] it’s much the same, despite the huge challenge, there is now a direction. There’s a real drive on both sides of the operation to build for the future.”
As well as revealing a new car, new colour scheme and new driver line-up in Paris last week, Renault also announced a revised management structure, with the headline move being the return of former Mercedes man Bob Bell as chief technical officer.
“[He] will be fully focused on the F1 performance and oversee the technical teams at Enstone and Viry to ensure everyone is following the same path,” explained Abiteboul. “Nick Chester and Remi Taffin will manage the technical teams at Enstone and Viry respectively.
“I’m very happy with this arrangement; we’ve got strong people in the right roles and a genuine willingness to work together to move forward. We have the budget we need for now, and we need to be cost-efficient and conserve our team spirit as we revitalise existing working models.”
Renault, under their previous guise of Lotus and using Mercedes power, finished sixth in the 2015 constructors’ standings with 78 points. Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn expects the team to improve on that tally in 2016, but is not predicting a dramatic overhaul.
"It may take some time, but we will close the gap," he said. "We are not here just to participate, we are here to compete and to win. It is not going to happen in 2016. Let's not think of a miracle."